Uniquely Urban – Melbourne

A house in an unforgiving Fitzroy lane-way has been imagined as a robust, simplified form a container for family life.  The tight vertical space is improved through a memorable threshold rising to the living areas and opening to a startling city view.
Designed by Kennedy Nolan, the brief for this house was relatively conventional – a place for a family, with a work from home space.  The studio believes, many positive aspects of family life in the inner city are tempered by lack of privacy, unwanted proximity, confined space and limited opportunities for airflow. Responses to these conditions usually result in compromises to security and seclusion.
This house is a design response to these constraints, and the result is a dwelling which is comfortable, secure, private, and with abundant natural light and ventilation – a house that’s good to be in at any hour, at any time of year, at any time of life. Importantly, the design provides domesticity without diminishing the unique urban design quality of the laneway.  It deploys a reduced palette of tough materials in undifferentiated abstract planes to make an architectural object which is resonant with the context, yet distinct from it.
Most critically, the house is a refuge, incorporating whimsy and beauty in internal aspect and dramatic prospect at the top of the stairs where the occupants live and entertain.

Derek Swalwell

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